7 Scientifically Proven Ways To Increase Your Influence

7 Scientifically Proven Ways To Increase Your Influence

I got a chance to interview Instructor and Lead Human Behavioral Investigator Vanessa Van Edwards. Her mission in life is to help you become the most memorable person in the room. She refers to herself as a recovering boring person who was uninterestingly bland. So she turned to science to overcome her dilemma.By using current research out of academic institutions and research organizations around the world, she’s able to share the latest people science in an actionable, applicable and un-boring way.

1. Connect with people emotionally

According to Vanessa’s research, she’s discovered that if you want to intrigue and influence people you have to get their dopamine pumping. Dopamine is that pleasure/reward area in our brain that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. She says you need to be relentless about stimulating that part of the brain, if you want to influence someone. A great way to do that is by having excellent conversation starters handy. Two that she always uses is, “What was the best part of your day and what was the worst part of your day?” or “What personal passion project are you currently working on right now?”


2. Be emotionally curious

When you make others feel important, your influence goes a long way. All of us want to be liked, loved and accepted. When you fulfill that need for others, you are perceived by them as being influential. Dale Carnegie once said, “To be interesting, you have to be interested.” So be genuinely interested in other people. A great way to become interested in people is to ask them open-ended questions. Get them talking about themselves and that will help increase your rapport with them.

3. Use Confident Body Language


Researchers at Harvard Business School, according to Vanessa’s class conducted a study wanting to know if a person’s body language could affect other people’s opinions of them. It turns out that it can. Low power body language is normally contracted, with the shoulders rolled with one’s head down or bowed. High power or confident body language is expansive. The head is held high, the arms are loose, shoulders are back and the chest is out. When you manifest power body language you are seen as more influential. Confident body language not only affects the way others see you, but it also affects the way you see yourself.

4. Tell a Story

Our brains are hard-wired for stories. When we hear stories, our brains feel like we are right there with the other person. It’s like you are experiencing the story along with them. Do you see the potential of how influential this could make you? When you tell a story, the brain of the other person is in sync with you. If you can stimulate the other person’s brain with a story, you can in effect get them on your side. Vanessa suggests creating a story toolbox. This toolbox should consist of relevant and thought-provoking stories you can tell at any time when you’re with people. Then after you tell the story, follow it up with some interesting questions. She suggests, “What was your most challenging moment and how did you overcome it?” or “When did a person, situation or moment turn out differently than you expected?

5. Be Vulnerable


Being open about your emotions actually increases your likeability and influence. People perceive you as being real when you admit to weaknesses or flaws. They are better able to relate to you. Vanessa suggests sharing a vulnerable story from your story toolbox. By doing this you not only tell a great story but you are being vulnerable as well, so it doubly increases your influence.

6. May I ask a favor?

According to Vanessa’s class, whenever you ask someone for a favor, you are perceived more positively. It turns out that asking for help is one of the best things you can do to be seen as an influential person. It is known as the Franklin Effect. So freely ask for help in the form of advice, other people’s opinion and their guidance.

7. Become Charismatic


Who is the most charismatic person you know? Why did you pick that person? Most likely you chose that individual because of the way that person makes you feel. According to scientific research, most people don’t remember what a person looks like or what they may have said. They remember how the other person made them feel. Charismatic people make others feel good. Vanessa gives three non-verbal ways to up your charisma quotient. When talking to someone, she says you should tilt your head, your torso should be aligned with theirs and lastly, your toes should point toward them. As Dale Carnegie said, when you show you are interested in other people, you become more interesting.

Featured photo credit: Thomas8047 via

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Weighted Blanket for Anxiety and Insomnia: How to Make It Work

Weighted Blanket for Anxiety and Insomnia: How to Make It Work

Messed up sleep can create a long list of secondary issues that can quickly become primary concerns if insomnia or other disturbances continue untreated.

Lack of sleep, whether it’s medically related or anxiety-driven, can throw off your normal functioning during the day. Concentration becomes difficult, productivity at work or school begins to suffer, irritability can have you lashing out at family and friends, and you also become at risk for serious health issues like heart attacks.

How can something so simple as sleeping with weighted blankets be a solution to stress, anxiety, insomnia and more?

Weighted blanket for anxiety and insomnia: how does it work?

Deep pressure touch stimulation (or DPTS) is a type of therapy that almost anyone can benefit from.[1] Similar to getting a massage, pressure exerted over the body has physical and psychological advantages.

According to Temple Grandin, Ph.D.:[2]


“Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.”

Traditionally, weighted blankets are used as part of occupational therapy for children experiencing sensory disorders, anxiety, stress or issues related to autism.[3] Karen Moore, OTR/L, an occupational therapist in Franconia, N.H says,[4]

“In psychiatric care, weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control.”

A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug

The pressure from a weighted blanket helps relax the nervous system.[5] It’s a totally safe and effective non-drug therapy for sleep and relaxation naturally.

Psychiatric, trauma, geriatric and pediatric hospital units use weighted blankets to calm a patient’s anxiety and promote deep and restful sleep. In a similar way to swaddling comforting an infant, the weight and pressure on an adult provides comfort and relief.


The pressure encourages mood-lifting hormones

When pressure is gently applied to the body, it encourages serotonin production, which lifts your mood. When serotonin naturally converts to melatonin, your body takes the cue to rest.

Weighted blankets are typically “weighted” with plastic poly pellets that are sewn into compartments throughout the blanket to keep the weight properly distributed. The weight of the blanket acts as deep touch therapy and acts on deep pressure touch receptors located all over your body.

When these receptors are stimulated, the body relaxes and feels more grounded and safe, and clinical studies suggest that when deep pressure points are triggered they actually cause the brain to increase serotonin production.

Benefits of weighed blankets

Weighted blankets are especially effective at alleviating anxiety. A 2008 study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health showed that weighted blankets offered safe and effective therapy for decreasing anxiety in patients. These results were confirmed in a 2012 study published in Australasian Psychiatry, which indicated that weighted blankets successfully decreased distress and visible signs of anxiety.

Depression, anxiety, aggression, OCD, PTSD, and bi-polar disorder have all been linked to low serotonin levels in the brain, which weighted blankets are reported to assist with. In addition, people battling with depression, mania, anxiety, trauma and paranoia, or undergoing detoxification have reported relief from symptoms.


Weighted blankets have reportedly helped patients suffering from a lot of different diseases and disorders, from autism, to Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Restless Leg Syndrome, and even can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.

How to use weighted blankets

The weight of the blanket will depend on your size and personal preference, but the typical weight for adults is around 15 to 30 pounds in the blanket.

Here’s a recommendation on how heavy the blanket should be for different people:[6]

    Experts recommend seeking the guidance of a doctor or occupational therapist if you have a medical condition.


    Do not use weighted blankets if you are currently suffering from a respiratory, circulatory, or temperature regulation problem, or are recuperating post surgery.

    Where to get a good weighted blanket

    There are many website where you can purchase a weighted blanket in tons of choices of fabric and weight.

    There are specifically blanket shops such as Magic Blanket, created by product developer, Keith Zivalich in California, which have children’s blankets that are 36 inches wide, and adult blankets, which run 42 inches across.

    Another good option is Mosaic Weighted Blankets which sells all-cotton versions.

    Therapy and special needs stores like National Autism Resources also sells weighted blanket. Amazon, Etsy and Ebay all sell them as well.

    Or you can even make your own like this:

    You can find weighted blankets in a variety of sizes, colors, and fabrics. Using weighted blanket is a simple change that can improve your mental health and make a huge difference in your life. Start looking for (or making) one that suits you most!


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